Where have all the clotheslines gone?
“Do you sell clothes pins?” I asked the young shelf stocker at my neighborhood grocery store.
“Clothes pins?!” he repeated loud enough that even a few other customers looked at me.
(Truthfully, I might as well have asked him where the payphone was). He politely told me to wait while he got his manager. The manager led me to the clothes pins. Looking at them, I thought: These are not my mother’s clothes pins.
You see, I’m old enough to remember when nearly every household had a clothes line in the backyard. Dryers were considered a luxury, not a necessity. Hanging and taking down clothes was a daily ritual for mothers. It was social affair too. Women chatted and caught up on the latest gossip, and as kids, we thought we were being naughty running through the neighbor’s sheets hanging on the line.
“Tee hee hee,” we’d giggle.
But the Maytag man and sheer convenience made the clothesline obsolete. Even some tiny neighborhoods started passing ordinances banning clotheslines in yards. I guess seeing your neighbor’s bloomers blowing in the wind isn’t chic.
Too bad, though, because there is nothing quite like a load of laundry purely dried by the sun and wind. And now through a good part of October, most of North America can experience the pleasure of having a clothesline and harnessing the power of the sun and wind. The weather is ideal.
But it’s about more than just the smell and feel of the laundry.
I use a clothesline because it’s not wasteful. Did you know that your clothes dryer can be one of the biggest energy hogs in your house? And it can account for nearly six percent or more of your energy needs.
Sometimes the best investments are simply just not being wasteful and making an effort to take advantage of resources that are free, like the sun and wind. That’s not even low hanging fruit; that’s fruit on the ground.
Oh, and about those clothes pins. You can find durable clothespins that your mother or grandmother would approve of at your local hardware store.
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Editor: Brianna Bemel